Tara steps into the shoes of Savitribai

Tara steps into the shoes of Savitribai

Actor Tara feels that she learnt a great deal when playing the character Savitribai Phule.

If the character of actor Tara as an uneducated woman in ‘Hebbettu Ramakka’, impressed you then you are sure to fall in love with her character of Savitribai Phule in ‘Savitribai Phule’, that released in the city last week. While the actor says it wasn’t easy to portray the life of Savitribai Phule, she says that she learnt a great deal in the process and feels the character has inspired her to strengthen her fight for the girl child in real life.

In a chat with Nina C George, Tara shares her experience of working on the film. 

How did you bag the role?

All credit goes to actor Suchendra Prasad. We were shooting for ‘Bharjari’ when he asked me to wear the sari in a particular way and took pictures. The next day, I got a call from director Vishal, who said he wanted me to play the role of Savitribai and that Suchendra had sent him my images. I couldn’t thank Suchendra enough.

Were you excited when this offer came along? 

It has always been my dream to work on a character like this. I was both thrilled and nervous when I was offered the role. I was thrilled as it an actor doesn’t always get to portray the life of a woman who has struggled a great deal to alleviate the problems of the girl child. Also nervous because it takes a great deal of finesse to showcase the contribution of Savitribai Phule, who was the foremost revolutionary of the 19th century. 

What according to you is strongpoint of the character? 

I first heard about Savitribai when I was in school. We had a lesson on Jotirba Phule. But there was only a passing mention about her in that. It was only when I read a couple of books on her did I understand the depth of the character. I was amazed to learn how she dedicated her life to start schools for girls in Maharashtra and fought societal injustice against women. She inspired the women folk to think on progressive lines and encouraged them to work towards claiming their rights. 

Would you agree that Savitribai’s thoughts are relevant today?

She is relevant because she fought for improving women’s rights, worked towards abolishing Sati and promoted the education of the girl child. We are, in some way, fighting for that even today. If you analyse a bit deeper, you will see that even today, in many parts of the country, a girl’s education is discontinued after class ten and sometimes after degree. We still talk about reservation for women in politics. People are still discriminated against and sidelined on the basis of caste, creed and religion. 

Do you think equality of women is still not fulfilled? 

 Yes, I believe that equality of women is still a dream. The moment a woman registers her protest against a particular issue  or raises her voice against what she thinks is unfair, she is called a feminist and many other such fancy names. Why? I always wonder what humiliation Savitribai Phule would have faced in her time to achieve many of the causes that she was fighting for.  

What message would you like to convey through this film? 

This film will be an eye-opener. It’s like Savitribai Phule is reborn through this film. The only full-fledged film that was made on her was in the 1950s. There have been only smaller documentaries after that. Ours is the only film that captures the life and works of Savitribai Phule in full. We don’t intend to project the controversies, but we have shown the history of Savitribai Phule.

Who was Savitribai Jyotirao Phule?

Savitribai Jyotirao Phule was married to Jyotirao Phule and was an Indian social reformer, educationalist and poet. She was a crusader for women empowerment, worked towards the prevention of female infanticide and killing of widows. She played an important role in improving women’s rights in India during British rule and emerged as an important figure of the social reform movement in Maharashtra. She set up India’s first women’s school from different castes in Bhidewada, Pune and became first woman teacher in the country.